“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matt 11:28-29
We live in a society caught in the grips of anxiety and depression. Young people are more prone to thoughts of suicide than previous generations. Recent studies struggle with locating a cause, and end up adopting such lame conclusions as greater competitiveness, perfectionism, and controlling parents. Clearly, something is broken in the world today. Opioid addiction is ravaging America; fatalities already number 52,000 this year alone, a higher number than deaths to AIDS or car accidents.
Technology offers more of the things we want the most, but we're less happy than we've ever been. People are in a desperate search for meaning and fulfillment, but find themselves further from the life they need than ever. As our time runs out and our hope for happiness begins to fade, we turn to new ways to mute our pain. We've seen illicit substances, pornography, and video games become global addictions. We've bought into the delusion that the life we want comes from filling ourselves with more of the things that left us so empty—more wealth, possessions, and meaningless diversions. The evidence clearly indicates we've got it wrong, that the fulfillment we long for isn't eluding us because we're not trying hard enough or don't have enough possessions and experiences, but because we're heading in the wrong direction.
In his own time, Jesus brought an offer of new life to people who were burdened with the demands of a culture caught in the grips of poverty, military oppression, and religious legalism. Many were outcast from society with little hope for their future. They found in the words of Jesus Christ the rest they longed for. By trusting in him, they became children of God, with a new purpose and destiny. They received peace and hope. The challenge of following Jesus was significant, but it was a much lighter burden than the demands of their culture and the emptiness of religious legalism, at least in this sense: it offered something they needed. It offered life.
What we receive in the world today, with its frenetic pursuit of meaningless diversions and consumer satisfaction, is something less than the life we were meant to have. It's an empty substitute. We experience joy and freedom by turning away from that life and embracing the one that Jesus offers. As we yield to his plans and share his heart, we find the meaning we've been looking for. We find peace in the middle of life's demands, calm in the storms of life, and the power that comes from setting aside our plans for something greater.
Two thousand years later, Jesus Christ remains the most significant human life that ever lived. No other name is spoken of more frequently or with more devotion and disdain. He was more than a moral teacher or prophet. The Creator came to earth to reveal the path to the existence you were meant to have—the life he created you to have. Anything less than that will never satisfy you. You don't lose by accepting what he offered, unless you consider the things that burden you and rob you of fulfillment as something worth holding onto. By trading them for the joy and love he offers, you gain something you didn't have but desperately need.
Accepting what Jesus offers will change your values and priorities. It doesn't remove you from modern, technological culture, but it gives you a path to follow as you live in the middle of it. It gives you a purpose and a destiny that surpasses it. It gives you peace, joy, and love to live victorious over it. As a child of God, you were made for more than this world can offer. Take his yoke on you and find the peace and fulfillment you've been searching for.